Lendlease, IHG Army Hotels break ground on hotel at Fort Liberty

Lendlease, a global integrated real estate group, and IHG Army Hotels have broken ground on a Candlewood Suites hotel at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.

Expected to open in early 2026, the 207-room hotel is the 17th Candlewood Suites property Lendlease and IHG have partnered on since 2009 as part of the Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) initiative, a U.S. Army-led, public-private venture to revitalize on-post lodging for service members, their families and government travelers.

“For more than a decade, Lendlease and IHG have had a long and successful relationship with the Fort Liberty leadership team through the PAL program,” said Matt Garrett, SVP/GM, PAL, Lendlease Communities. “The new Candlewood Suites at Fort Liberty is just the latest project to exemplify the benefits of privatization for military lodging, and the positive results that are possible when we combine our joint expertise across development, hospitality management and operations with a unique understanding of the specific needs of those seeking accommodations on Army installations.”

He noted that as one of the largest U.S. Army installations by population in the U.S., Fort Liberty welcomes approximately 100,000 travelers annually across its existing three hotel properties, including active service members and their families awaiting permanent housing and military personnel visiting an installation for training or other short-term needs.

“For almost 15 years, IHG Army Hotels has proudly worked to extend IHG’s commitment to deliver True Hospitality to military members and their families through first-class, service-minded properties,” said Chuck Sourbeer, VP, operations, IHG Army Hotels. “Groundbreaking of the Candlewood Suites on Fort Liberty further underscores the successes of collaboration with the PAL initiative. Whether for a single night or an extended stay, this hotel will provide all the amenities guests need to rest and reconnect, delivered by an understanding and caring staff.”

Located on the site of a previous IHG Army Hotels property, the Fort Liberty Candlewood Suites will include guestrooms ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom suites. The hotel will also offer features to meet the specific needs of military travelers, such as fully equipped kitchens in each suite; a business center, fitness center, laundry facilities and 24-hour Candlewood Cupboard market; outdoor seating and barbeque area; a separate lounge for Distinguished Visitors; and amenities such as complimentary hot breakfast, pet-friendly accommodations and weekly social events.

Lendlease and IHG Army Hotels were the first to build a hotel in the U.S. using cross-laminated timber (CLT), and Fort Liberty Candlewood Suites will be the sixth hotel in the PAL portfolio to employ CLT. As it is composed of renewable materials that store carbon, CLT surpasses traditional building methods when it comes to sustainability. However, CLT also offers maximized strength and durability characteristics that were ideal for this project.

“Given the security requirements and physical constraints of the site, we determined that CLT was the only structural system that could meet installation-specific design specifications,” said Garrett. “Our experience using CLT on previous hotel projects gave us the confidence that it was the right choice for Fort Liberty Candlewood Suites in terms of decarbonization and force protection outcomes.”

In addition to the new Candlewood Suites, Lendlease and IHG will make other enhancements to military lodging options at Fort Liberty over the next year including FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) updates that are currently underway at Carolina Inn; and future renovation of the existing Normandy House hotel, which will be designated part of IHG’s Historia Collection comprising buildings of historical importance to the Army and the nation.

“Partnerships like the one we celebrate today are not just about buildings; they are about the quality of life we provide to our service members,” stated COL(P) John B. Hinson, ACG-S, XVIII ABN CORPs, Fort Liberty.

As the exclusive developer for the Department of Defense’s only lodging privatization program, Lendlease is the owner, developer, design-builder and asset manager for the Candlewood Suites at Fort Liberty. IHG Hotels & Resorts is the hotel operator and manager. Lendlease’s PAL portfolio includes more than 12,000 hotel rooms on installations across the country.